I never cease to be amazed at how we, as men, have managed to define biblical words and doctrine without an understanding of God’s true nature. We will then turn around and use those very words and doctrines to define for ourselves what God’s nature is. This is equivalent to me reading a biography about my wife, (before I met her) written by someone who didn’t know her very well, and from that biography forming my opinions of who she is. That would be foolish on my part and most likely lead me to have created a false image of who I believed Kate to be. Unfortunately, this image formed would then guide my relationship with Kate forever unless it was changed.
This is exactly what has happened as man has used the Old Testament and their experiences in life to define who God is instead of letting God Himself define who He is. Hebrews 1:1-3 says it this way.
God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, 2 has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; 3 who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high
Jesus is the only image of God we should form. He is the only one we should use to define who God is. Yes, I realize the Old Testament is inspired by the Holy Spirit, the men of those times would describe what they saw or heard from Holy Spirit, but we must remember that all everything we see or hear is then filtered though our own belief systems. This was even true of the prophets of the Old Testament. The way God revealed Himself to them was shrouded in a cloud, a shadow is all they saw. (Col. 2:17, Heb. 10:1) Now when you see a shadow all you see is a vague outline in a thick darkness, you cannot see any details. You can tell something or someone is there, but you can’t get a clear image or sharp details. You could not distinguish between one person or another. This is how the writers of the Old Testament and people who lived before the cross saw God, hidden in thick dark clouds and veiled; the eyes of their understanding prevented from discerning His true nature. So when we use the words of the Old Testament unfiltered through Christ, which is how most have perceived God, you can tell how easily it would be to get confused as to who God really is.
Nowhere is this more obvious than in the doctrine of the sovereignty of God that has been taught. It is a doctrine that teaches that God is the supreme authority and that nothing happens unless He wills it. He either directly or indirectly, even by using Satan, causes all things to occur according to His desire. I believe this doctrine has caused more damaged to man’s image of God’s true nature and man’s maturing as a son of God than any other doctrine devised by man. I truly believe this doctrine was conceived in the bowels of hell, and has created a pacificity in believers keeping us from fulfilling our commission.
First of all, the word sovereign is not found in the Bible being used in the manner of it meaning that God is in direct control of everything that happens. In the Old Testament it is used in conjunction with the word God in the same way you would use “Lord” to mean Lord God, not in-control-of –everything God. The real definition of sovereign means to be supreme, having supreme rank or power. I agree God is the supreme authority, but being supreme ruler doesn’t mean you are in control of everything that happens. It is assumptions like this that is causing individual Christians to be destroyed in most aspects of their lives. One of the main passages used in developing this doctrine is in Job 1: 6-12.
Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them. 7 And the Lord said to Satan, “From where do you come?”So Satan answered the Lord and said, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking back and forth on it.”
Let’s stop here for a moment and take a look at how God is relating to Satan. This verse will set the stage and give us the perspective we need in order to rightly divide the rest of the passages. God is all knowing, He already knew where Satan had been and everything He had been doing. So why did He ask? I have two children and one in particular would always go to get candy or junk food out of the pantry, especially right before mealtime. Now when I would see them, I’m not going to say he or she to give them away, I would ask, “are you getting candy?” Now I knew what they were doing. I wasn’t asking because I wanted them to answer, but to let them know I was watching. So in the same way God was asking Satan for the purpose of letting Him know he was aware Satan was there and what he was doing. Continuing on we read
Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil?”9 So Satan answered the Lord and said, “Does Job fear God for nothing? 10 Have You not made a hedge around him, around his household, and around all that he has on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. 11 But now, stretch out Your hand and touch all that he has, and he will surely curse You to Your face!”12 And the Lord said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your power; only do not lay a hand on his person.”So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord.
Most will use these verses to say that God is bringing Job to Satan’s attention in order to entice him to go after Job. But God is still speaking to Satan the way a parent might treat a young child. When you read these verses in the original Hebrew translation you can get a picture that is very different than the one presented by the common doctrines of the day. In the Hebrew text it would read something like: “Why are you considering my servant Job?” That is entirely different than what most believe and teach. Instead of offering up Job as a sacrificial lamb so to speak, He is asking Satan why is his attention on Job; basically letting Satan know that He is aware of his plans. Satan then tries to turn the tables on God and get Him to do what Satan wanted to do. He is basically saying,” God, you are protecting Job and blessing him, that’s the only reason he likes you. If you strip all that from Job, he will no longer love you and will curse you.” Trying to trick God as if He wouldn’t know Satan’s plans and fall into the trap. But God replies and says that all that Job has is in Satan’s power. You see; Satan didn’t need to ask God permission to go after Job. He was already planning it and God knew it. This conversation was just exposing Satan’s plan. The reason Satan didn’t need permission from God to affect Job was that all men were under his dominion. Let me explain about Satan’s dominion on earth a little more.
When God created Adam He gave him dominion over the earth and everything in the earth. Then Satan tempted Eve and Adam sinned. By doing so he gave the dominion over the earth that he had been given by God to Satan. So at that time Satan had total dominion over the earth and everything in it, and that included man. It was man who gave the dominion to Satan, not God. We then see Satan leaving the presence of God and reeking havoc on Job’s life. So you see, we can’t put the blame on everything that happens to us on God. He is not the only being around us that can affect our lives. Satan is there and he is called our advisory. Scripture says that he has come to steal, kill, and destroy, and from Job we can see he doesn’t need God’s permission to do it. So from the previous passages we see that not everything that happens is God doing it, but is everything God’s will?I’ll admit that I had some serious problems with being taught that everything that happens is God’s will. When you make a statement using a word like “everything” you can’t exclude anything. Then seeing where children are molested and tortured and trying to fit that in with scriptures that say God is a loving God gave me a serious headache. Now most that say God is sovereign will start crawfishing when you ask, “so God wanted that little girl to be sexually molested and tortured?” But you can’t have it both ways! Either everything that happens is God’s will or it’s not. Here are a few scriptures that helped me break free from the lie that God’s will always happens.
The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance (2Peter 3:9)
And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. (1John 2:2)
Not only is it God’s will for every person to be born again but Jesus paid the price for all sin so would have no excuse. God, was in Christ Jesus, removing every stumbling block, destroying every excuse we had as to why we couldn’t be saved. If a person is not saved it is because they chose not to be saved. So if it is God’s will for all to be saved and many are not (Matthew 7:13-14) then we can accurately say that God’s will is not always done.
Another way Holy Spirit led me into the understanding that God is not sovereign, at least not the way most define it today; is by showing me that that doctrine is contrary to God’s nature. 1 John 4:8 states that God is love.
Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.
It doesn’t say that God loves but that He IS love. What that means is that God doesn’t love sometimes and not another time. His nature is love and He can not act contrary to His nature. He will only act in love. One thing about love is that it will never force itself or its will on you. So to say that God’s will always occurs implies that He will have to force some to act according to His desires. If God will not force the greatest gift ever on someone, the gift of salvation, then He would never force them to conform in other areas.
So why is this a big deal? Well, if you believe God is the author of everything that comes your way, if every bad thing that happens is His will, how can you fight it? I truly believe that this doctrine is responsible for believers just trying to survive until Jesus comes back or they get taken to Heaven. Just sloshing their way through the cesspools of life’s adversities trying to endure instead of being the overcomers that we are called to be. If you believe everything that happens is God’s will then when you’re loved one or friend gets a diagnosis of a fatal disease you help them endure until they die instead of standing up in faith knowing that this is not from God and commanding it to leave. (Mark 16:15-18) The teaching of the sovereignty of God as it’s being taught today has produced a body of Christ that is weak, passive, and useless to this world. However, teaching that yes God is the supreme authority, and it is that authority He has given to you to demand that things on this earth be as it is in Heaven, will create a body that is full of faith, overcoming all the works of the enemy, with all the answers, causing this earth to look like it looks in Heaven.